One of my favorite things about Rocket is that he understands that a great game is more than a game. A truly amazing game can be a platform itself. One way to change a simple game into something more is to make it easy to modify. Some games have this customization built in like The Sims 3 for example. The developers give you the tools, and you make the content. Spore was a great example of this. Will Wright being the brilliant man he is realized that if you give the customer powerful tools they will make most of your content for you. It works two-fold – the dev gets content made for free, and the players get invested in their own worlds. Be warned I linked to some different games here. That is how ads work, if you buy them it helps keep this blog running, thank you.
Game as Platform
Minecraft was one game that I thought would run with my “platform” concept. All the building blocks were there… I know, bad pun! Although you could do so much with the basic textures and mechanics, the modding scene is what truly makes Minecraft great. There are a few people that never changed a texture pack, or installed a mod, but I think most players dabbled at least a little bit.
The thing that hurts Minecraft is the lack of a true modding API. For those that do not know API means “application programming interface”. API just means a simple way to get at the guts of a game. For example if you want to change something without an API you have to either break open and change the core code, or make more code that rides on top and intercepts commands coming in and out of the software. With an API you just tell the software what changes you want and they are seamlessly integrated. This is a very crude explanation, but it will work for now.
Minecraft had a good shot at being that amazing platform. If Notch would have taken this route you might have hundreds or thousands of complete games based off of his software. As it is, we can get pretty close with some really awesome mods that change a lot about the game like Mo Creatures which adds “mo” creatures or Millenare which makes all kinds of villages packed with things to do.
Things kind of fell short when Notch decided that *HE* wants to provide the content, and *HE* wants to control what you do with *HIS* game. If he would have let go a little and gave up some of that control things may have gone different. As it stands he made a classic game and got rich, so what more can you ask for? Right?
DayZ is Different
Rocket has a slightly different viewpoint. Mr. Hall takes a different approach toward modding, most likely because he is a modder himself. However do not forget that he was a lead dev on ArmA 3 before he came out with DayZ, don’t pigeon hole him as a modder only. He sees the whole picture pretty well now, from player, to modder, to developer, to publisher.
Now people may say “Rocket has too much control, he won’t let us make PvE servers or let us have 50 helicopters per map, and why can’t everyone just spawn with an AS50 and NVG’s?!” In this sense, for the sake of the current game he has kept a TON of control. In the next phase, whatever exactly that might be, I think you will see more power given back to the players. A simple API will be built into the standalone game making it easier for people to change and tweak his code to bring about wild and crazy things that even Dean never thought were possible. Just like he did with ArmA 2.
DayZ: Capitol Wasteland
Think of it now: Super Mutants… Bottle caps…. Beans? A Fallout 3 version of DayZ would be so much fun. The games are very similar in a lot of ways already with the wasteland setting, rotten disgusting enemies (I am looking at you smoothskin), and the whole scrounging for ammo thing. Many of the basic mechanics are the same in both games, it would not be a stretch to see a new map, new textures, and a few tweaks to the core mechanics.
One of the things that DayZ lacks is a strong story line, and Fallout has many years of fake history and lore to draw from. NPC’s would probably need to be in the game for it to work right, and that might be a little stretch but I think Rocket and Co. plus some talented modders could pull it off. This one is a no-brainer.
Click read the rest of this entry below to read the rest of my DayZ mod concepts.
DayZ: Cowboys and Indians
Another really great franchise is Mount & Blade. M&B has some great combat with swords, lances, bows, and now even guns. The horseback riding is one of it’s strong suits, and I think that would fit really well in with DayZ. Imagine using your horse for transportation, companionship, and yes even FOOD!
Ever since I visited the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona as a kid I have been infatuated with “cowboys and Indians”. I am sure most people get the reference, but some of our international friends may not. The childhood game of cowboys and Indians involves usually three factions: the Sherrifs, the bandits (real bandits) and the Indians. Somehow you could make all three playable to have some great asynchronous game play going on. Trains could be repaired, fueled with wood or coal and run up and down the tracks to make money or some other kind of bonus. Of course the lawmen (and women) would try and protect it while the bandits tried to rob it. All the while the Indians could do their own thing, either peacefully living off the land, or showing the palefaces (yes this is where my name comes from) who the sacred land really belongs to.
A couple more great aspects of this era could be explored, one being the gold rush of the 1800’s. Rocket is obviously working on making things like underground bases, why not underground caves and mines. Players could harvest or gather the ores, use mine carts to get them out, and trains to transport to the smelter. This gives the game an economic incentive, and opens up huge amounts of things to do in game.
What about cattle drives? A group of players could purchase cows at some point and to make a profit they have to get them to the other side of the map. Bandits and Indians could raid their trails and steal the cows, kill the cowboys, or anything else they want. There is a lot you can do with some simple mechanics here. Adding horseback riding would also open up so much variety in the game. Make the Winchester back into a rifle, add a Peacemaker or Colt 45 and you are on your way!
DayZ: Battle for Gettysburg
Any of the historical wars could be done, but I think the Civil War would fit best. Supplies and supply lines would be a main focus of this mod. Not everyone should be on the front lines fighting, there needs to be a lot of coordination in the rear to wage a successful war at the front. Lots of factional play could be explored here. Maybe someone wants to fight with Lee in the south, others might take a moral stand on the other side. So many emotions and feelings can be explored in what at first seems to be just another shooter. DayZ has already made us think so much before we pull the trigger, why not add more layers to that?
The strong team-building aspects that Rocket has planned would really come in handy here. Different units could be formed for each side of the fight, including infantry, artillery, cavalry (horses again) and support. Some people might not want to fight all the time. They can go slaughter animals or carry water, make ammo for the troops, or simply flee and watch the battles from afar, living as refugees in the countryside.
Different maps would make this mod really fun. Who is to say that we can’t have a couple ships blockading the harbors? Giant forts would give both a place to take cover, and a target to assault. If we end up getting a lot of building capabilities then players could actually make and run the forts. How long do you think you could hold out without food, water, or ammo? The fort would be taken by your enemies eventually but this just gives you a chance to respawn, find your unit, and be on the attack.
These are just some ideas I have been playing with in my mind, none of these actually exist, or are even planned as far as I know. It is still really early in the life of DayZ, but with standalone coming, and talk of console versions I think it is time to start looking ahead a little bit. Please do not bring up “hacking” or other bugs here. Do that on this post about scripting please.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you have other ideas that would work? Does anyone actually think this is all possible?